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Minkoff jumpstarts wayback machine

Screenwriter sought; CGI pic may spawn new TV series

Rob Minkoff’s Sony-based production shingle Sprocketdyne Entertainment is teaming with Bullwinkle Studios to develop and produce the live-action/CGI-animated feature “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”

“Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” the tale of a brilliant dog and his pet boy who time travel via their “wayback machine,” debuted in 1959 as part of Jay Ward’s beloved animated series “Rocky and His Friends.”

Bullwinkle Studios is a joint venture between New York-based family entertainment company Classic Media and Jay Ward Prods. Minkoff and Sprocketdyne’s Jason Clark will produce the pic with Tiffany Ward, the late Jay Ward’s daughter, who formed the production shingle and an alliance with Classic Media to further develop the properties.

Classic Media prexy Eric Ellenbogen and senior VP of production and creative affairs Bob Higgins will exec produce.

A screenwriter has not yet been hired; producers hope to have one in place by the end of the summer. Project comes under Sprocketdyne’s deal with Sony, which has a first look at all projects produced by the shingle.

As yet pic is a project Minkoff will produce only, though he could direct under the terms of the deal.

Speed of lightning

Classic Media is currently in development on the live-action/CGI feature “Underdog” with Spyglass Entertainment and a live-action version of “The Lone Ranger” with Columbia Pictures via Red Wagon Prods.

“Sprocketdyne are masters of the family comedy, and Rob wrote the book on combining computer animated characters into a live-action world,” said Classic Media’s Bob Higgins said. “They are the perfect partners to bring Sherman and Peabody from the small screen to the bigscreen.”

Series possible

The two companies may also team on a new Peabody and Sherman TV series in the future, though no decisions have yet been made.

Minkoff is currently directing Eddie Murphy starrer “Haunted Mansion” for the Walt Disney Co. Sprocketdyne produced such pics as Sony’s “Stuart Little” franchise, which Minkoff directed, and Disney’s “The Lion King,” which Minkoff co-directed.

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